Chipotle Black Bean Chili

Have you every wondered why black beans have become so popular in the United States in recent years? They’ve long been a staple in our south-of-the-border neighbor, Mexico, where they’re called frijoles negros.

Now, Americans have discovered that black beans not only are uniquely delicious but nutritious as well.

Few foods have as solid a nutritional profile as black beans. They are loaded with protein and fiber. As as far as antioxidants, black beans have at least eight different flavonoids, the color-producing phytonutrients pigments that work together with vitamins to help the body avoid oxygen-related damage.

Black beans also contain small amounts of omega 3-fatty acids, about three times that available from many other beans, including kidney beans.

Over the years, I’ve enjoyed black beans in a variety of dishes from soups to stews to chilis, which brings me to following recipe, which was passed on to me by Mark Haley of Grand Forks.

Mark, who along with his wife, Bonnie, owns Bon Voyage Travel Agency, does the majority of cooking in their household. Recently, I shared with him my penchant for spicy foods, and not too long after that, he shared this black bean chili recipe with me.

I’ve yet to try the chili, mainly because Therese isn’t a big fan of spicy food and it contains a variety of hot pepper, chipotle. It’s one of those recipes that I’ll make when she’s out of town.

But that’s not to say I have to wait to try it.

Chipotle Black Bean Chili
1 pound Jimmy Dean Premium Pork Hot Sausage
1/2 pound ground beef
28 ounces chicken broth
1 14 1/2-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 16-ounce jar picante sauce
2 cups frozen diced hash browns
1 15 1/4-ounce can whole-kernel corn
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, diced
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
Brown sausage and ground beef. Drain fat.
Add remaining and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 2 hours.

Chicken Paprikash

The spice paprika can be found in many recipes that have their roots in Eastern Europe. One such dish is goulash, which originated in 9th-century Hungary. It’s a dish that I’ve found quite tasty, especially a recipe for it that came to me from a co-worker, Brad Schlossman.

The recipe for it was passed down to Brad from his grandmother, Jennie Nartnik, herself of Slovenian descent. (Slovenia is located just southwest of Hungary in the Balkan penisula.)

Another dish that contains generous amounts of paprika and is native to that area of Europe is chicken paprikash, the classic Hungarian stew of onions, peppers and sometimes tomatoes and mushrooms.

With some leftover roast chicken in the refrigerator, today I put together a paprikash dish, the combination of three recipes, each a little different than the other.

The result was easy to make and quite tasty when served over egg noodles, and the perfect comfort food for a winter day.

Chicken Paprikash
2 cups chicken, cooked and shredded
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
1 yellow onion, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
2 15-ounce cans stewed tomatoes
4 teaspoons Hungarian or sweet paprika
¾ cup sour cream
Cooked egg noodles (you could sub in rice, potatoes, spaetzle, dumplings, or bread)
Heat olive oil in the Dutch oven and add the sliced onion, bell pepper and mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 to 7 minutes until softened, stirring occasionally, then lower the heat to medium.
Add the chicken and tomatoes, Cover and let stew for 1 hour. Turn the heat to low. Add the sour cream and paprika stirring until smooth. Taste and add more salt and pepper as desired. Serve over egg noodles or rice.
Yield: Serves 2.

Tater Tot Hotdish

Anyone who has attended a luncheon after a funeral  in Minnesota or North Dakota knows that the chances of sampling a hotdish or two is highly likely.

In fact, it’s not unusual for hotdish — or casserole in you’re from elsewhere — to be the main course at most church functions at which food is served. I thought about this the other day after reading a Facebook post from a friend, Kathleen Shea Aregood.

Kathleen, who a few years ago moved to North Dakota from the Philadelphia area with her husband, Rich, is a  journalist who now does staff developmen consulting work in areas of writing, reporting, story development and news judgment.

When she was consulting at the Herald, we often talked about recipes, so it wasn’t unusual to see a post about food. This post, however, caught my eye, since she was disclosing to her Nodak friends that her hotdish for a church annual did not contain condensed soup. (I think it contained a homemade sherry mushroom cream sauce.)

Well, I probably would have thought it interesting anyway, since hotdish is a favorite of mine. But I bet there are quite a few area residents who would find it hard to fathom a hotdish without some sort of canned soup.

I haven’t gotten around to asking Kathleen for her recipe, but here’s one for a tater tot hotdish that many readers probably have sampled at a church function or at home.

And yes, it does contain a can of condensed soup, cream of mushroom to be exact.

Tater Tot Hotdish
1 pound ground beef
1 1-pound package tater tots
2 10-ounce cans condensed cream of mushroom soup (or 3 cans if you want it extra creamy)
1 or 2 14-ounce cans vegetables (whole-kernel corn, green beans, etc.)
Onion and garlic powder (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
While the oven is preheating, brown the ground beef (seasoning to taste as you cook) and drain off the grease.
Spread the beef in the bottom of a 2- to 2½-quart baking dish.
Drain the liquid off the vegetables and spread them over the meat.
Using a rubber spatula, spread the cans of soup over the top of the vegetables and meat. Use the soup as is, straight from the can. Do not mix it with anything.
Arrange a layer of tater tots over the top of that.
Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.
Top with your favorite variety of shredded cheese as you serve.
Yield: Serves 6.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 659 calories, 57 perce t of calories from fat, 42.2 grams fat (13.7 grams saturated), 77.1 milligrams  cholesterol, 1,624.1 milligrams sodium, 43.6 grams carbohydrates, 5.1 grams dietary fiber, 2 grams sugars, 26.5 grams protein.

Broccoli-Tuna Casserole

There is something to be said for recipes that contain five or fewer ingredients. For one thing, they’re usually supereasy. Another is that they’re perfect when you are in a hurry.

And, of course, the fewer the ingredients the better chance that you will have everything you need on hand.

In these times, when both parents often have day jobs and dinner can be a rush job, the following recipe — which I fixed the other night and was extremely happy with — is both quick and easy as well as tasty.

Broccoli-Tuna Casserole
2½ cups penne pasta (can substitute elbow macaroni)
1 5-ounce can tuna, flaked, in water
2 cups broccoli, chopped
¼ cup cream cheese
1 10½-ounce can cream of mushroom soup
Boil water and cook pasta. When pasta is almost done, add in broccoli and cook until both are soft. Drain.
Put back into pot, add in tuna, soup, and cream cheese. Stir until cream cheese is melted, on medium heat.
Serve immediately.
Yield: Serves 4.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 408.5 calories, 11.7 grams fat (4.3 grams saturated), 25.6 milligrams cholesterol, 4 grams sugars, 598 milligrams sodium, 57.6 grams carbohydrates, 3.2 grams dietary fiber, 17.8 grams protein.

Turkish-Style Pizza

Homemade pizza can be a labor of love. Sure, it’s easy to just pick up the phone and have a pizza delivered right to the front door, but making one in your own kitchen can be a very satisfying experience and well worth the extra effort.

Of course, with the Super Bowl on tap Sunday, besides a ton of chicken wings, there probably will be a lot of pizza eaten at parties across America.

If you’re hosting a get-together and want to keep your expenses down, here is a recipe (from Fleischmann’s) for a homemade pizza that’s loaded with everything you might want on one that comes from a pizzeria.

Turkish-Style Pizza
Cornmeal, for dusting
12 ounces pizza dough, whole wheat (recipe follows), or other prepared dough
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil plus 1 teaspoon, divided
1½ cups Fontina cheese, grated (or Monterey Jack)
2 medium tomatoes, 1½ cups diced
1 medium sweet onion (such as Vidalia), diced, about 1 cup
1 medium pepper(s), jalapeno – seeded, minced, (about 2 tablespoons)
2 ounces beef, pastrami, diced, about ½ cup (optional)
Black pepper, freshly ground, to taste
1/3 cup fat-leaf parsley, torn
¾ cup whole wheat flour
¾ cup all-purpose flour
1 package rapid rise yeast (2¼ teaspoons), such as Fleischmann’s RapidRise
¾ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon sugar
2/3 cup hot water
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
TO PREPARE PIZZA:
Place a pizza stone or inverted baking sheet on the lowest oven rack; preheat oven to 500 degrees or highest setting. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray and dust with cornmeal.
Prepare whole-wheat pizza dough, if using.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 15-by-10-inch oval. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Turn edges under to make a slight rim. Brush the rim with 1 teaspoon oil.
Sprinkle cheese over the crust, leaving a ½ -inch border. Top with tomatoes, onion, jalapeno and pastrami, if using. Season with pepper. Drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil.
Place the baking sheet on the heated pizza stone (or baking sheet) and bake the pizza until the bottom is crisp and golden, 10 to 14 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately.
TO PREPARE WHOLE-WHEAT PIZZA DOUGH:
Combine whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, yeast, salt and sugar in a food processor; pulse to mix. Combine hot water and oil in a measuring cup. With the motor running, gradually pour in enough of the hot liquid until the mixture forms a sticky ball. The dough should be quite soft. If it seems dry, add 1 to 2 tablespoons warm water; if too sticky, add 1 to 2 tablespoons flour. Process until the dough forms a ball, then process for 1 minute to knead.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Coat a sheet of plastic wrap with cooking spray and place it, sprayed-side down, over the dough. Let the dough rest for 10 to 20 minutes before rolling.
Place a pizza stone or inverted baking sheet on the lowest oven rack; preheat oven to 500 degrees or highest setting. Roll and top the pizza as desired (we suggest a 13-inch circle) and bake the pizza until the bottom is crisp and golden, 10 to 14 minutes. Serve immediately.
Yield: Serves 6.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 286 calories, 513 milligrams sodium, 3 grams dietary fiber, 14 grams fat (6 grams saturated) 28 grams carbohydrates, 31 milligrams cholesterol, 12 grams protein.

Crab Tacos with Corn, Pecan and Avocado

Not everyone who attends a Super Bowl party likes to eat the usual fried wings, dips and chips that may have unhealthy saturated or trans fats.

So if you’re hosting such a get-together, it might be a good idea to have some snacks that will score a touchdown with to guests whose appetite is for tasty recipes that won’t be flagged by the diet police.

Here’s a recipe for crab tacos from the National Pecan Shellers Association (www.ilovepecans.org) that is sure to taste great as well as incorporate ingredients that will give your Super Bowl treats a healthy boost.

Pecans, in case you don’t know it, play a role in reducing the risk of heart disease because they have an abundance of “good” heart healthy fats.  These unsaturated fats can have a protective effect by lowering total blood cholesterol when eaten in moderation.  Pecans contain no cholesterol and no trans-fat.

Crab Tacos with Corn, Pecan and Avocado
8 ounces crabmeat
10 grape or cherry tomatoes, quartered
½ cup drained canned corn
¼ cup thinly sliced red onion
½ green bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
¼ cup fresh lime juice
2 to 3 tablespoon chopped pickled jalapeno
2 tablespoon pickling liquid from jalapenos
1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
1 ripe avocado
¼ teaspoon salt
2/3 cup pecan halves, toasted
6 corn taco shells
Several hours or day before serving, combine crabmeat, tomatoes, corn, red onion, bell pepper, lime juice, pickled jalapenos and their liquid and the cilantro in a medium bowl. Mix well, cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight. Just before serving, stir pecans into crab mixture. Peel and pit avocado; mash with salt to form a paste. Spread a thin layer of avocado paste inside each taco shell. Fill shells with crab mixture and serve.

Hot Seafood Casserole

It’s not always easy to come up with a dinner plan, especially if you’re the one who does the majority of your family’s cooking. One way to overcome this dilemma is to browse your recipe collection for ideas.

That’s exactly what I did today. And what I came up with was a recipe for a hot seafood casserole. I don’t know who cut it out of a Relish (http://relish.com) magazine, but regardless, it’s what we’re having for supper tonight.

What sold me on the recipe was that it was described as a shrimp and crab casserole mixed with buttery cracker crumbs.

I love casseroles, and the idea of combining shrimp and crab along with some green pepper, onion, celery, mayonnaise and a little Worcestershire sauce really was appealing.

Hot Seafood Casserole
1 green pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
1 6-ounce can crabmeat, flaked
1 pound shrimp, cleaned, cooked, cut in small pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 cup mayonnaise (see note)
1 cup buttered Ritz-style cracker crumbs (see note)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine green pepper, onion, celery, crabmeat, shrimp,salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce and mayonnaise in a medium-sized bowl. Mix Gently. Spoon into an 8-inch-square baking dish or individual ramekins. Sprinkle with cracker crumbs.  Bake for 30 minutes.
Yield: Serves 4 to6.
Tip: This dish is is also good with 1/4 cup cooking sherry added to the seafood mixture before baking.
Note: Substitute low-fat mayonnaise and crackers to reduce calories if desired.

Greek Potato Salad

Potato salad is not exclusive to the Americas. It comes in many  forms and is extremely popular worldwide. And just about everyone has a favorite potato salad recipe.

Of course, like most other people who grew up in the Midwest, cold potato salad with a mayo/Miracle Whip base is the kind that is most familiar to me, although the hot German variety is also a favorite.

I got to thinking about potato salad today after reading a story about a current study at the Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center — Lifestyle Modification and Potato Consumption — which hopes to prove that a diet consisting of low-fat potato recipes and the right amount of exercise are an effective means of combating obesity.

Three of the recipes in the weight-loss study, which will employ up to 75 volunteers and whose aim is to understand every aspect, impact and downside of a lifestyle modification program in which a potato diet is the focal point, are for potato salad.

The three recipes will be of the cold variety: tuna potato salad, Greek potato salad and vegetable potato salad, all of which sound pretty good to me.

Here’s a low-fat recipe that I found for a Greek potato salad that looks pretty tasty. It’s from the U.S. Potato Board.

Quick and Healthy Greek Potato Salad
1½ pounds Russet potatoes (see note)
1 cup low-fat 2 percent Greek yogurt (such as Chobani, FAGE, Oikos or YoPlait)
1/3 cup minced red onion
¼ cup sliced Kalamata olives
¼ cup peeled, chopped cucumber
1 tablespoon lemon juice
¼ teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Chopped fresh parsley
½ cup crumbled feta cheese
Chopped fresh oregano (optional)
Place whole potatoes (do not poke) into microwave-safe dish. Cover dish. (If covering dish with plastic wrap, poke small hole in plastic). Microwave on high for 10 to 12 minutes depending on strength of microwave. Use oven mitts to remove dish from microwave; carefully remove cover from dish due to steam build-up and let cool. Cut potatoes into bite-size pieces and place in a large bowl with remaining ingredients; stir well to mix. Sprinkle with cheese and oregano. This salad may be served right away, but is best if refrigerated for at least one hour to allow flavors to blend.
Note: Red, yellow or white potatoes can be substituted.
Yield: Serves 4.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving with skins: 210 calories, 3.5 grams fat (1.5 grams saturated), 5 milligrams cholesterol, 440 milligrams sodium, 39 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams dietary fiber, 5 grams sugars.

Black Beans and Rice Chili

Everyone loves a bowl of hot chili on a cold day. And add a little bit of rice to the mix and you have a meal that hardly needs any accompaniment.

Here’s a recipe from Zatarain’s for Black Beans and Rice Chili, a one-skillet meal complete with corn and red bell pepper for color and texture that could become a Super Bowl party standby for years to come.

Black Beans and Rice Chili
2 tablespoons oil, divided
1 pound ground beef
½ cup diced onion
½ cup diced red bell pepper
1 package Zatarain’s Black Beans and Rice
2 cups water
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1 tablespoon chili powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
Assorted toppings, such as shredded cheese, sour cream and chopped fresh cilantro
Heat oil in large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat. Add ground beef, onion and bell pepper; cook and stir until meat is no longer pink. Drain fat.
Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon oil, rice mix, water, tomatoes, corn, chili powder, garlic powder and crushed red pepper.
Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 25 minute or until most of the water is absorbed and rice is tender. Stir occasionally to prevent rice and beans from sticking. Serve with assorted toppings, if desired.
Yield: Serves 6.
Approximate nutritional analysis per: 321 calories, 734 milligrams 2odium, 13 grams fat, 32 grams carbohydrates, 45 milligrams cholesterol, 5 grams fiber 19 grams protein.

West Bank Wings

There’s not much doubt that chicken wings are a Super Bowl party favorite. In fact, more than 1.23 billion wings will be eaten before, during and after the big game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens on Feb. 3 in New Orleans.

But that’s 12.3 million less than last year, according to the National Chicken Council. The reason is because high feed prices have left the United States with a smaller chicken crop and, therefore, fewer chicken wings available.

For those of you who already have purchased wings, here’s a recipe from Zatarain’s, the brand that’s been serving up New Orleans-style foods for more than 120 years, and the first lady of football, Olivia Manning, wife of Archie and mother of Peyton and Eli.

Olivia’s take on the classic dish, which is her husband’s favorite, uses Creole Mustard, chili sauce and pineapple juice for a sweet and spicy combo sure to fire folks up during halftime.

West Bank Wings
3 pounds chicken wing pieces
2 teaspoons Creole Seasoning
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
½ cup pineapple juice
¼ cup Creole Mustard
¼ cup cane syrup or molasses
¼ cup sweet chili sauce (like Thai Kitchen)
½ teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
¾ teaspoon crushed red pepper
Chopped fresh cilantro
Sesame seeds
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Toss chicken wings with oil and Creole Seasoning in large bowl.
Arrange wings in single layer on foil-lined large shallow baking pan.
Bake 35 minutes or until wings are cooked through and skin is crisp.
Mix remaining ingredients, except cilantro and sesame seeds, in large skillet. Bring to
boil on high heat. Reduce heat to low; simmer about 15 minutes or until sauce is reduced
Add wings; toss to coat with sauce. Transfer
wings to serving platter. Garnish with cilantro and sesame seeds. Serve immediately.
Yield: Serves 8 to 10 as appetizer.